My Write-Ups

I am not happy

I’m not happy one bit. And I don’t care if I’m posting this to a bunch of strangers, but a lot of people seem to understand or relate more than a said family member.

I hate how respect works. I hate how, if I have something on my mind, I can’t speak it because I have to show respect to the elder. I’m always holding my tongue and trying my best not to disrespect anyone, let’s face it. I’m the biggest pushover and I fucking hate it.

I want to change so badly, but I don’t know why I’m so afraid of the consequences.

There is so much more I want to rant about, but I can’t remember off the top of my head. I have a lot more to say about my family though.

If I cry, I’m not weak, I just have emotions. Like the rest of us. But it wouldn’t be apparent to you, because you just deal with everything internally.

Just because you’ve dealt with men, doesn’t give you access to tell a young man how to be one. That’s opening doors for manipulation and expecting me to cater to your needs or some shit like that. Stay in your fucking lane & mind your own business.

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Jealousy is a conscious choice

One thing that I’ve learned that helped me more than anything: you, and you alone, have to accept that jealousy is a conscious choice. We feel jealous because we feel like others actions are a personal attack on us, that they are trying to take away what is ours. You need to make two realisations here.

  • no one wants to take anything from you, an overwhelming majority of people have the utmost respect for another person’s relationship, despite what pop culture tries to push.
  • you don’t own your significant other, they are not “yours” to be taken away. You may know this consciously, but you also have to realise this emotionally. Your significant other is an individual, entirely separate from you and your desires.

You make the choice to feel like another person’s actions are an attack on you, but let me point something out to you. (This is a somewhat melodramatic example but it gets the point across. The story also assumes you’re a straight male but sub in the appropriate genders)

When you strike up a conversation with a girl on the street because she’s wearing a tee-shirt from a show you like, are you thinking about sleeping with her? Are you thinking about your girlfriend, and how she would never know? Of course you aren’t, you’re thinking about the tee shirt and how it’s cool you have something in common with this stranger. So, why is your girlfriend held to different standards than you hold yourself to? Why is she more likely to think that way when you wouldn’t?

My point is, when you internalize and accept these facts, that jealousy is a conscious choice, then all you have to do is practice not making that choice.

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India wins 368 medals at Special Olympics Summer Games

In one of the best sports performances in Indian history, Indian team of 284 athletes have clinched 368 medals at the prestigious Special Olympics World Summer Games held at Abu Dhabi between Mar 14 to 21.

Here’s the mind-blowing overall medal tally:

  • Gold : 85
  • Silver : 154
  • Bronze : 129

And today I read about these champions of indomitable determination. They proved how, despite their hardships, special abilities and limited support, they made history. One must also applaud their parents and well wishers for truly believing in their children when the world generally looks down upon people with special needs & abilities.

Most of these women & men will soon return to their normal lives full of obstacles. I only hope that these men & women of passion get as much support and nurturing as possible from both the govt and the society. They made India proud. They deserve to be rewarded and rewarded well for bringing glory to the nation.

Their homecoming pictures are the best thing I’ve seen today.

These are the smiles that deserved extensive coverage in the media. They deserved interviews. Their stories deserved to be told. They had potential to inspire and change lives. 
But, alas, hardly did we even realize that such a feat was even accomplished in India.
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Intentional Morality

Does being an empathetic, or intelligent person make living a moral life more difficult? Yes. I assert that it does.

The morality of an action is determined through (Intention+Outcome). An action with a negative outcome, and a positive intention can be either positive, or negative depending on the scale of each variable.

This is likewise true for the inverse; a positive outcome with a negative intention.

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Apple vs Spotify : Time to Play Fair

Spotify recently started a campaign called Time to Play Fair, accusing Apple of enforcing anti-competitive policies on their app store, including:

  • Charging a 30% fee to app developers for all in-app purchases
  • Not allowing app developers to show links in-app to purchases made outside of the app (for example, Spotify can’t put a link in the app to the page on their website where users can purchase Premium without 30% of the payment going to Apple)
  • Not allowing app developers to even suggest to users that another way of paying for something is available, besides the in-app purchases.
  • Telling Spotify that a particular method of advertising Spotify Premium is perfectly fine, and then later pulling the app from the app store for doing it.
  • Frequently changing the wording on their rules so they can pull the Spotify app when they don’t adhere strictly to the new wording.

This is all within the context of Apple trying to push its own competitor to Spotify, Apple Music. Spotify is accusing Apple of making it virtually impossible for Spotify to make their app available on the app store, so that users will use Apple Music instead.

Apple’s response is basically denying that they’re trying to choke out competition, and instead accusing Spotify of wanting to cheat the rules that everyone else has to follow (Note: Apple does not have to follow these rules).

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Movie Review: Captain Marvel

As someone who adores the MCU I thought this movie was pretty solid entry to the series. Definitely not the best of the MCU offering but certainly not the worst. It never dragged, it had a neat origin, cool visuals and a fun story. The humour was okay, I guess. Not laugh out loud funny but there were some moments that made me chuckle, Sam Jackson singing Postman by the Marvelettes being one of them.

First of all, that tribute to Stan Lee was beautiful. His cameo was very touching as well. I was expecting a bit more of an homage to the ’90s.

In terms of pacing I thought it was really good. It kept my attention all the way through. I was not expecting to be siding with the Skrulls and that the Kree would end up being the enemy. There were some pretty good action scenes, fighting the old lady in the train was fun. Carol going full Super Saiyan and wiping out Ronan’s fleet was awesome. Another time the film subverted my expectations was when I was expecting her to battle Jude Law’s character “mano a mano” but instead blasted him away. Later, when she went to grab his hand, instead of helping him up, started to drag him across the dirt, loved that.

As for the acting, I thought Talos was incredibly well-acted. Sam Jackson is Sam Jackson, no explanation needed. As a big AoS fan, I was so happy when I found at Coulson would play a role in this film. Kinda disappointed he only had a small role but I smiled ear to ear whenever he was on screen. As for Brie Larson herself, I thought she played the role of Carol really well, she definitely seemed passionate about her character (plus she’s super cute).

So yeah, looking back on it, I actually really enjoyed this movie. Not my favourite Marvel movie (GoTG and Ragnarok are fighting for that title), but still a very enjoyable one. Overall I would give it an 8/10.

P.S. Holy shit that post-credit scene, give me Endgame now plsssssss!!!!!!

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7 billion people yet so little Humanity

These past couple of years, I’ve been feeling a kind of anxiety that I’d never felt before — I no longer consider the future a certainty. I used to have absolute faith in humanity’s ability to overcome almost any challenge, and trusted our species to ultimately listen to reason whenever push came to shove. However, looking at the various preventable crises that lie ahead, I have to say that I’ve lost that faith.

Climate change is going to decimate food supplies and cause death, collapse, and migration. Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we’re two to three decades away from pneumonia becoming a death sentence. The social and educational revolution brought about by modern technologies is being negated by bad faith reasoning and self-gain driven manipulation. All of these problems are entirely of our own making; they’re the direct result of our selfish and petty nature, and I feel powerless in the face of that realization.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt as small and disillusioned as I did when I watched every authority figure — from the PM of the India to my own father — dismiss major threats to the survival and wellbeing of our entire species, threats backed by science, simply because the idea itself was either too absurd or too inconvenient to consider.

I used to think that I could just sit in my office, focus on my work, and trust the rest of humanity to trend towards a desirable future. I had so much faith in us; I’m heartbroken to see how absolutely — and how proudly — so many of us are failing one another.

I’m angry, I’m saddened, I’m disappointed, and I’m terrified. Not only for myself, but for the billions that stand to starve, the billions that stand to die, and for the inescapable suffering each and every one of us is going to endure once our bill comes due.

I wish I had something more to say, but beyond the desperate hope that some scientific breakthroughs save us at the eleventh hour, all I can say is that I hate us all — we could have been so much more.

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Elizabeth Warren’s new plan: Break up Amazon, Google and Facebook

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an aggressive plan on Friday to break up tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook, targeting the power of Silicon Valley with her populist message as sprawling Internet giants face mounting political backlash ahead of the 2020 presidential election. – CNN

The article specifically mentions Google, Amazon, and Facebook, as well as outlining specific ways in which this “breaking up” could occur. 

The article mentions, for example, that Google’s search feature could be split off from their ad revenue. This isn’t trust-busting, it’s forced divestment of non-monopolistic albeit interconnected services. Google’s search feature doesn’t inherently make the company very much money. It’s the ad-related search results that make it profitable. Remove that, and what exactly incentivizes Google to maintain their search feature? Well, very little. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a free service. Using Google’s search feature doesn’t cost money, just your attention. 

Sure, most tech-savvy users utilize ad-blockers nowadays, but we represent a minority of users. 

Alphabet makes money from ads, plain and simple. 

Others have suggested splitting off YouTube. But as others have pointed out, while we don’t have exact figures on YouTube’s profitability, most experts agree that YouTube makes very little, if any money. On its own, rising server costs would quickly overtake any and all profits that are to be had. Only under the massive umbrella of Alphabet does YouTube continue to remain sustainable.

Okay, so what about Facebook? 

Surely they could stand to lose WhatsApp and Instagram? Well yes, probably. For a time. The truth is, Facebook’s user population is becoming increasingly older. Younger users overwhelmingly prefer Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. There’s a reason Facebook was able to purchase Instagram and WhatsApp. On their own, they weren’t anywhere near as profitable. How do you think WhatsApp makes money? Ad revenue from its parent company. Remove that, and very quickly WhatsApp would be replaced by a more profitable entity, perhaps one propped up by a foreign government (looking at you, WeChat). I mean shit, WeChat is owned by TenCent, an unambiguously evil company. But in the free market, left to its own devices, WhatsApp would either need to introduce ads, datamine the shit out of its users, or fail. That would create a large hole in market share that would be gobbled up by companies like WeChat.

And finally, we have Amazon. 

A slightly different beast, to say the least, but the core principle remains the same. Amazon Web Services has very little to do with the operations of the Amazon online retailer that most of us use regularly. So exactly what monopoly are we breaking up by splitting the two? All that would accomplish would be removing substantial revenue from Amazon, leading to decreased profitability, leading to decreased market share. Guess who’d take that share in a globalized economy? Alibaba. Another Chinese giant. Talk about counter-productive.

The time has come to accept the fact that our economy is service-based. We produce very little. Tech companies are an enormous part of that economy, and divesting them of their more profitable revenue streams should be a non-starter. It’s orthogonal to the real issue. What we really need is increased protections from these companies’ more insidious practices. 

Don’t break up Google, just strengthen and enforce privacy laws. 

Keep these tech companies in line, certainly, but don’t destroy them. 

Don’t split Amazon, just enforce fair-market practices.

The truth is, Senator Warren is targeting these companies because its appealing to a large core of her voting base. But it begs the question, why not Microsoft? Or Apple? Or the telecom companies like Verizon or AT&T? Those companies are much closer to true monopolies than any of these other tech firms. It’s populism at its worst. It scapegoats select entities, proposes destructive orthogonal “solutions”, and ignores the actual, much more dangerous issues that virtually all major tech companies are guilty of.

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Zuckerberg’s promises are no more than deliberate deception.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday made a major proclamation: The future of Facebook is one focused on private communication.

Zuckerberg’s new stance was delivered in a 3,000-word note titled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking.” The note outlines the framework with which the company will integrate the private messaging features of its Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp apps, and it comes after a grueling 2018 in which the company was plagued by multiple scandals related to user privacy.

“I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won’t all stick around forever,” Zuckerberg wrote. – CNBC

The article says Zuckerberg failed to deliver. What it doesn’t say is Zuckerberg deliberately lies about what his company is really doing, as has been discovered multiple times recently.
So the real point is not that we should trust his capacity to deliver but that his words tend to amount to no more than deliberate deception.

From his apparent theft of the Winklevoss twins’ concept, right up to today, it seems like he lies, cheats, and steals at every turn. If Facebook has good privacy, then there’s no way for it to earn money. It’s a market impossibility.

I wonder what percentage of Facebook users even know who Zuckerberg is.

The more I read about Mark Zuckerberg the more I think of Bill Gates 1.0.

For those who don’t remember, Gates in the 90s was unlocked by a lot of people – especially those in IT. He was viewed as downright evil. His “Embrace, extend, eliminate” strategy and him saying “I don’t recall those events” so much in court that even the judge started laughing at him are the tip of the iceberg.

Of course Gates 2.0 is very different and seen as a philanthropist. Makes me wonder if Zuckerberg will have a shot at redemption, or if he’s just going to become more unlikeable.

My Write-Ups

Every Animal Pulled From the Deepest Part of the Ocean Had Plastic in Its Gut

Stories of whales, turtles, and seabirds with guts filled with plastic have become increasingly common.

Recently, a team of scientists wanted to determine the extent of plastic pollution and its effects on animals by investigating the most remote regions of the ocean, sending vehicles to the deepest marine trenches to collect tiny amphipods — shrimp-like creatures — that scavenge for food in the harsh environment.

In the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the ocean, every single amphipod captured had at least one plastic fiber in its stomach, according to the research published Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.